Does Neymar have a release clause at PSG?
With speculation building that the Brazilian wants to return to Barcelona, is it simply a case of the Catalans matching a buy-out clause in his deal?
Speculation continues to mount that Neymar could leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, with Barcelona the likely destination of the attacker.
Since moving to Parc des Princes in the summer of 2017, there have been rumours that the 27-year-old was not happy in France, with his impact at key times during his two seasons at the club having been negated by significant foot injuries.
However, the return of Leonardo as sporting director of the Ligue 1 champions has brought a change of culture. Neymar will be on a shorter leash, and having returned back for pre-season training a week later than he was expected, finds himself immediately in the bad books.
Indeed, so enraged were PSG with the forward’s no-show for the opening sessions of the summer, they released a very public statement rebuking him. Neymar’s father hit back and said the club were informed of his plans, while Leonardo later confessed in an interview to Le Parisien that the player could go at the right price. Just what this price is, however, is unclear.
Unlike in Spain, where every player legally has to have a release clause built into their contracts, even if it is a symbolic one, like the €800 million (£721m/$900m) one on recent Barcelona signing Antoine Griezmann’s agreement, it is illegal in France for players to have such deals built into their contracts.
As such, any reports suggesting that Neymar can be bought for a certain fee are very likely to be baseless.
What is not against the law, however, are gentleman’s agreements that could allow transfers to take place at any given time.
The upshot of this means that no matter what Barcelona bid for Neymar, PSG will not be compelled to sell the striker, whose contract with the club is up in 2022.
Leonardo may have stated that the former Santos man is available at the right price, but he has not intimated what this price may be.
PSG, however, do not want to make a loss on the forward, who is only likely to leave for a fee above the €222m (£200m/$263m) that he arrived for two years ago.
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Reports in France state that the Ligue 1 side are more interested in receiving cash than any part-exchange, though they are set to relent on their initial asking price of €300m.
Barcelona, who have already bought Griezmann for €120m from Atletico Madrid this summer as well as Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong for €75m, may struggle to fund such an option given that they are currently operating with a transfer net spend of nearly €150m. As such, they are keen on offering at least two players as part of the package to help Neymar return to Camp Nou.
The player’s future, however, is currently in the hands of PSG.